When Boston began to take COVID-19 pandemic precautions last year, the Boston Lyric Opera had just opened a production of Bellini’s Norma. Artistic director Esther Nelson turned to a longtime friend of the organization to help them determine whether the season could go on.
This fall, Massachusetts General Hospital awarded seven extraordinary nurses—selected from approximately 100 nominations submitted by colleagues, patients and patient families—to receive the DAISY award.
A group led by Debra Burke, RN, DNP, MBA, NEA-BC, senior vice president for Patient Care and chief nurse, gathered—with pins, banners, sculptures, certificates and cinnamon rolls—to surprise the DAISY awardees at Mass General. Seven more nurses throughout Mass General have been recognized as DAISY recipients. They are: Angela Reddington, RN, Lunder 6 Neuroscience ICU; Nicolette Sweet, RN, Wang 3 Center for Perioperative Care; Dianne Johnson, RN, Yawkey 8E Infusion Unit; Robert Maillet, RN, Yawkey 8E Infusion Unit; Kristina LeVasseur, RN, Lunder 10 Oncology Unit; Jennifer McMullen, RN, White 8 Medicine and Kayla Gordon, RN, Bigelow 7 Medicine.
The DAISY Awards were founded by the Barnes family in 1999 to remember their son Patrick, who died at age 33 from complications of the autoimmune disease idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura. The family wanted to create a way to honor the strong relationship their son had with his nurses and they developed this program to say “thank you” to nursing staff for the exceptional care they provide.
Awardees receive a DAISY honoree pin for their ID badges, a “A Healer's Touch” sculpture representing the bond between a patient and caregiver, a banner to display on the unit signed and dated by the winner and cinnamon rolls for the care team—recognizing the one thing Barnes was able to eat when he was sick and what he often shared with his nurses in appreciation of their compassionate care.
About the Honorees
Angela Reddington, RN
Reddington’s nomination from a patient’s family member lauded her ability to provide culturally competent care. Taking into consideration the patient's cultural wishes while hospitalized, she was called a “modern day Florence Nightingale—filled with warmth, compassion and great human sensitivity.”
Nicolette Sweet, RN
Sweet was recognized for her clinical expertise to identify a potential postoperative complication and provide appropriate intervention. Her patient nominator reported, “She had a calming spirit about her, knowing precisely the right things to say. Her tranquility naturally transferred to me. … Nicki made me feel safe and secure in her capable hands.”
Dianne Johnson, RN
Johnson was honored for her dedication to patient safety, when she single-handedly organized and ensured that the Cancer Center had a COVID-19 screening area. In her colleague’s nomination letter, she mentioned that “Dianne has such a gentle way about her. I have had numerous patients comment on how safe they felt after speaking with her prior to checking in.”
Robert Maillet, RN
Maillet was recognized for his ability to make patients feel at ease about their infusion treatments. “Bob cares so deeply about his patients; I'd like to think that I am special, but I hear him with his other patients, and he is the same with all of us. He is real, self-deprecating and genuinely cares about us not just as patients, but as people.” The patient who nominated Maillet revealed delaying chemotherapy treatment by a week to remain with Maillet for therapy, citing “I wouldn't do it without Bob by my side.”
Kristina LeVasseur, RN
LeVasseur was nominated by a patient who was nervous and stressed during her hospitalization as she was a single mother to a young child. The patient discussed how LeVasseur’s “approach, calm demeanor, professionalism, upbeat personality and patient-centered practice has made her one of the best nurses to ever care for me.” At one point in the patient’s hospitalization she discussed having word-finding difficulties and expressed how “Kristina was the nurse that finally went quiet and simply allowed me time to find the correct words.”
Jennifer McMullen, RN
McMullen was nominated by a peer who recognized the compassionate care she provided to an end-of-life patient with COVID-19. The nominator wrote about an interaction McMullen had with the patient: “I witnessed Jenn hold the patient’s hand for 45 minutes and give him much-needed TLC. ... She made him feel more at peace with her soft-spoken, kind words. ... Due to her compassionate nature the patient was less agitated and able to rest peacefully.”
Kayla Gordon, RN
Gordon was nominated by the partner of a patient who said, “Kayla took the time to make sure he understood his procedures, limitations, and test results. Just as important, was the compassion and caring she demonstrated to my partner and me. We both felt safe and secure in her care. Kayla is one of the best we have ever had the privilege of witnessing caregiving and nursing. She saw us as humans.”
The DAISY Awards will award honorees every quarter. For more information or to nominate a nursing colleague, employees can visit the DAISY Awards website or they can scan the QR code on posters throughout the organization. Nomination boxes also are available throughout the hospital for paper nominations.
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